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Endorsements highlight divide within Republican party

Posted at 6:38 PM, Jul 14, 2022

It's not often an incumbent governor wades into his party's primary for Secretary of State. But Governor Ducey endorced Phoenix businessman Beau Lane Wednesday via Twitter.

When you are polling at 5%, with less than two weeks to go before the primary, any endorsement is welcome. Especially if it comes from the Governor. "I was delighted to get that endorsement," Lane said.

Lane does not believe the 2020 election was stolen, which puts him at odds with most of the candidates who are running against him.

State Representative Mark Finchem is endorsed by Trump. He attended the January 6th protest and demanded to decertify the 2020 election.

The other candidates include State Senator Michelle Ugenti Rita, who wanted to put the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in jail over the election audit.

State Representative Shawnna Bolick, who along with Finchem, signed a letter asking Vice President Mike Pence to throw out Arizona's electors and proposed legislation allowing the legislature to overturn the results of any presidential election if lawmakers didn't like the results.

Despite Lane's low polling number, the leader in the Republican Party Primary for Secretary of State is 'undecided'. An OH Predictive Insights poll completed just days before ballots were mailed out showed 72% of voters had no idea who they would vote for in the race, meaning a Ducey endorsement may have an impact.

"I don't call it a proxy war. I call it a proxy competition that Doug Ducey is not down with the Trump version of Republican politics," says Republican lobbyist and political consultant Stan Barnes, President of Copper State Consulting.

As Governor of Arizona and as the chair of the Republican Governor's Association, Doug Ducey has not been bashful about taking on Trump endorsed candidates.

In May, Ducey campaigned in Georgia for Governor Brian Kemp. Kemp won easily against Trump endorsed candidate David Perdue. Ducey also had a hand in defeating Trump endorsed candidates in Nebraska and Idaho.

"He's letting his policies and his administration and his record stand on its own. Which clearly clarifies Trump's animosity toward him as a personal vendetta," said Highground Inc. CEO Chuck Coughlin.

Coughlin thinks Trump's dominance over the party is not a sure thing. When he comes to Arizona for a rally on Saturday, Coughlin believes Republicans far beyond Prescott Valley will be watching and listening to what he has to say. "I think it's really going to be watched closely because as we've observed, there is a perception that Trump has a very significant headlock on the Republican primary voter. And is that true?" Coughlin said.

A recent Highground poll showed Governor Ducey has a 60% approval rating among voters. His approval rating among voters who believe the election was stolen is 58%. Those numbers are good enough for Beau Lane. "I believe that having his endorsement is greatly to my benefit," he said.